I’ve often thought about the other paths that I could take, or the other opportunities that I could have explored. In this ever-growing industry, professionals are faced with a plethora of options, paths, focus areas, job opportunities and decisions. When I began my career, I was not focused on the title at all. Instead, I focused on finding a position that would yield the most exposure to the industry that so interested me. Getting my start as a market research analyst at a small cloud service provider, I was exposed to many different practice areas within the world of IT, from management of assets and resources, to the deployment of virtual systems in the cloud. This exposure lead to a deeper understanding of the options that I had within the industry and provided the much needed clarity on the things I did like, and those I did not. After a short time at the cloud service provider, and being recruited by a mid-size IT security firm, my search for and understanding of “the title” became clear; I had to match my skillset with the title that I eventually wanted. Have you ever heard the phrase “dress for the job you want?” That phrase is similar to my realization that I had to “build my skill set to meet the job requirements of the position I wanted.”
You may be thinking; “but there are so many job practice areas! Pen tester, auditor, IT analyst, sys admin, network engineer.” Yes, the cornucopia of job opportunities is immense, but it is important to stay focused on the title. There are two main strategies that I employ when it comes to the job search, and for preparing for a role.
Focus on a title or job role that I desire – match the skill requirements. If I don’t have a skill from the list of requirements, it becomes part of my monthly or yearly goals to attain that skill to meet the requirements.
Focus on your current skill set, and match those skill sets to available career positions.